One Florence family wants to bring awareness to organ donations through their son. Ladson Hardesty is a 21-month old who was born with epstein anomaly and is in need of a heart transplant.
Ebstein Anomaly is a rare congenital heart disease that causes the tricuspid valve not to work properly. The valve is located between the upper right chamber and lower right chamber of the heart.
Ladson has had about six surgeries since he was born due to his condition. His parents took him to hospitals in South Carolina, but they wanted to get a second opinion after he kept getting sick.
They reached out to a specialist at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic who told them Ladson needed to have heart surgery.The family went to Minnesota in January with hopes of getting the surgery and returning home, but that was not the case.
After the surgery, the doctor told them Ladson was in desperate need of a heart transplant because he also has pulmonary hypertension and left-sided heart failure.
Ladson’s parents and his grandfather are now staying in Minnesota until he can get a transplant.
“We’re just waiting on a heart. He’s doing okay. He’s on life support basically. He’s on a bypass that it takes his blood for him and all of his blood goes out from his body into a machine,” Ladson’s mother, Nikki Milligan said.
The family hopes their story can make people in the Florence and surrounding areas realize the importance of donating organs.
“Prayer is the most powerful thing that anyone can do, and also just praying that people would realize the importance of donating organs because I never even realized the importance of it until now that we’re affected,” his grandmother, Sharon Milligan said.
In order to donate an organ, the donor has to go through a lengthy evaluation process, Nikki Milligan said.
“Many people don”t know that just because you put organ donor on your license that does not mean you will actually donate your organs. Your family has the ultimate say at the end of it,” she said.
Ladson’s doctor says the heart he receives must be of a child who is similar in size or a little bit bigger.
According to his family, he is a happy baby even with everything he goes through.